PLYMOUTH — NFL football fans will remember the old “Ground Chuck” offense of Chuck Knox’s Los Angeles Rams, and Plymouth fans will likely remember “Ground Jack” or John if you prefer from the Rockies 38-21 Friday night win over NorthWood.
Plymouth claimed a share of the Northern Lakes Conference title with the win, and welcomed a bit of the future in quarterback Jack Barron. The Plymouth freshman entered the game after Kyle Lacefield’s ankle injury late in the second quarter and while he didn’t have a pass attempt in the game managed the Plymouth offense to a big conference win.
“I know we went a period of about 20 years without a conference championship so this is always a big goal of our program,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “I can’t say enough about our kids, our staff, everybody involved.”
In fact the Rockies did not have a pass attempt in the entire game. They had more than enough on the ground with senior fullback Sam Stevens and his 191 yards rushing on 31 attempts with three touchdowns thrown in for good measure.
Elliott Eads made life even easier for the Rockie freshman signal caller with 77 yards on just six rushing attempts including a back breaking fourth-quarter touchdown. Cornerback Jacob Frantz put the nail in the NorthWood coffin with a 35-yard pick six that made the final score.
Senior quarterback Ike Kastner sat out the game due to injury, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t involved in the Plymouth win.
“I know it’s not easy being Ike right now because he’s a senior and I know how bad he wants to play,” said Barron. “He was great with Jack tonight there on the sideline to support him that just shows what kind of kid he is.
“We wanted to get Jack (Barron) some reps if we had the chance and unfortunately Kyle (Lacefield) had the ankle sprain so he got those reps.”
The biggest factor in the Plymouth victory was the dominance of the offensive line. Led by seniors Adam Lacefield and Dan Samuelson the O-line took over to make Barron’s (Jack or for that matter John) night a lot easier.
“We always try to play hard and do the best we can,” said Samuelson. “Our line just keeps working every week to get better.”
“We’re a line we have to stick together,” said Lacefield. “That’s why we’re able to do the things we do.”
“I’m proud of our guys and our line and that’s why we have the ability to run the ball,” said John Barron. “That’s really good for us because we have to start tomorrow to go on the road and start our second season next week.”
Plymouth ends the year with a share of the Northern Lakes Conference Championship and a 7-2 record. NorthWood ends the year at 4-5 but with a chance of redemption at Jim Andrews Field next week against Plymouth in round one of the IHSAA playoffs.
• PLYMOUTH 38,
Score by Quarters
Plymouth 3 14 7 14 - 38
NorthWood 7 7 0 7 - 21
NW — 9:10 Will Kirkwood 17 yard pass to Nick Graber (Brendan Widner kick) 7-0
P — 3:37 Jacob Frantz 35 yard Field Goal 7-3
P — 8:40 Sam Stevens 7 yard run (Frantz kick) 10-7
NW — 5:16 Kirkwood 52 yard pass to Graber (Widner kick) 14-10
P — 3:03 Stevens 48 yard run (Frantz kick) 17-10
P — 6:15 Elliott Eads 14 yard run (Frantz kick) 24-10
NW — 8:42 Kirkwood 45 yard pass to Graber (Widner kick) 24-17
P — 6:17 Stevens 1 yd run (Frantz kick) 31-21
P — 6:06 Frantz 35 yard interception return (Frantz kick) 38-21
Rushing (NorthWood 27/105): Tanner Cleveland 6-28, Will Kirkwood 9-56, Blake Cleveland 2-48, Luke Edwards 2-8. (Plymouth 72-403): Sam Stevens 30-191 3TD, Justin Drudge 7-52, Elliott Eads 6-77 TD, Kyle Lacefield 7-30, Jack Barron 9-48, Cam Eveland 4-8.
Passing - Kirkwood 14-21 179 yds 3TD, INT.